Clover Kitty Goes To Kittygarten (Laura Purdie Salas)

Hello, friends! In honor of JJ’s first day of kindergarten, our book today is Clover Kitty Goes To Kittygarten, written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Hiroe Nakata.

Young Clover Kitty prefers calm things: knitting quietly, napping on a warm floor, slowly nibbling her kibble. Sometimes she wishes she had someone to share her calm activities with, but otherwise, she feels very safe and secure in her familiar routine. So when the time comes for Clover to head to Kittygarten, she’s very nervous – and after a disaster of a first day, it’s easy to see why. Between the bright lights, loud noises, crowded classrooms, strong scents, and general newness of everything and everyone around her, Clover is overwhelmed and has a meltdown. For the next three days, she asks to stay home, and her mother lets her. Mom even allows a quiet friend, Oliver, from school to try and visit; Clover hides the first two days, yet is disappointed when he doesn’t show up the third. Deciding that she wants to try school (and friends) one more time, Clover comes up with a plan…

Wonderful. Everyone knows that the first day of school can be scary – add in sensory issues like Clover’s, and it can feel like an impossible challenge. A fantastic use of descriptive language allows readers with and without sensory issues of their own to understand her discomfort with “glaring” lights and perfume that stinks “like licorice”. Clover’s toolkit for combatting sensory overload (sunglasses, earmuffs, special blanket, etc), is a nice introduction to the same items sensory-sensitive children use. Adorable artwork managed the tricky balance of setting both the calming and overwhelming tones without being visually overwhelming themselves. The length was good, and JJ adored this one, seeing a kindred spirit in Clover. This is a great story, especially for classrooms who must consider sensory issues: nuerotypical kids will better understand their impaired peers, and sensory-sensitive kids will feel seen. Definitely Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)

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